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Black Hole (Bourbon Edition) | Mikkeller ApS

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Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)
Very Good
182 Ratings
Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)Black Hole (Bourbon Edition)

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Added by gford217 on 05-27-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 182 |  Reviews: 98
Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Great bourbon and chocolate aromas.Bittersweet chocolate taste, big thickness and oily.Lots of roast. Lacey on black body. The barrel ageing gave some coconut. A bit astringent finish.Barrel did not make it amazing. I liked this beer plain too.
Ken's bottle.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Whole bottle into the DFH snifter - I presume this will be the only drink I have tonight.

Very dark, initially a big billowy head but after that goes away there is little in the way of lacing. Not sure what the carb is going to be on this - I had to use pliers to get out the cork and there was a barely audible 'pop'.

I really enjoy the smell - but it is one dimensional. That dimension is booze. Within the booze, if you're able to keep your nose in there, there a nice roasted malt and chocolate notes but man are they burried. Think about biting into one of those Jack Daniels candies with the liquid booze in 'em. Now imagine that it was the same concept but delivered in a more refined manner.

Wow, my left eye flipped shut with the abrupt tart/booze combo out of the gate. This is much more watery than the color and smell indicate and I got a pretty good pop without much effort. The best part of this is in the complexity of the last bite and aftertaste. There is some roast, some malt, some bourbon, some wood. There is also a faint chocolate milk flavor.

The booze dominates and this is a bit watery for a stout, perhaps even more so for an RIS and expectation may be driving me to think this a bit more watery than it truly is.

I have no ability to drink more than one of these. Possibly ever, but certainly not in a sitting - or maybe even a month.


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Photo of jwinship83
3.31/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

375ml plastic corked and caged bottle drank from my stone IRS snifter.

A- this one pours out a completely black colored body with a full finger of light brown colored head on top. the head vanishes before your eyes and becomes no more than a crown. little to no lacing is left behind.

S- the first thing i notice in the nose is all the detectable alcohol that is in here. i know this is a 13% beer, but wow. some bourbon, but lots of straight up ethanol also. after the initial shock im able to pick up lots of darkly roasted malts. some very dark chocolate and vanilla (from the barrel) are found also. at the end theres plenty of coffee.

T- the alcohol i could smell comes back in the taste and in a big way. because i was expecting it this time it was easier to handle. lots of bourbon notes make it through. very dark roasted malts. almost burnt. lots of bitter dark chocolate. lots of coffee. plenty of barrel. this beer does it big.

M- there is a high level of warming from the alcohol. the body is shockingly thin for something this massive. the carbonation is at a nice low level which really works well here.

D- one was enough for now. very intense. im glad they used the smaller format bottle, because a full 750ml of this and i would have had a terrible morning.

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Photo of cetherid
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

poured into a tulip


pours a very dark brown, to the point of black. A frothy tan head, about 1 fingers worth.


I'm getting some light bourbon notes, soy sauce, dark roasted malts, a little sweet honey and some booze. Perhaps a little woody smell in there as well. A lot of aromas that I'm not sure they compliment each other well.


Getting some wood taste and roasted/burnt malts. Then a little warming bourbon and a dry burnt taste in the finish. Just a weird tasting beer.


A little watery and carbonation is a little non existent after while. Pretty disappointing for an imperial stout.


Not a fan of the flavors and it's way too high ABV for me. I won't even finish my half glass of this. it was an extra so so big deal of me wasting this. Kinda had high hopes as this was my first mikkeller beer.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
1.78/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Epic tasting, many edition of Black Hole opened.

Pours black as a dead dog under a tree in the late hours of night. Nose is kinda nice, roasty smoke and fire, a bit of booze there and a nice anise hint.

Taste though, its grotesque. Fire, booze, acetone, solvents and acrid roast. It was, to say the least, saddening.

Mikkeller, I expect better.

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Photo of bbeane
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into my DFH snifter... starts with a finger thick brown head that lingers momentarily before mostly disappearing. Leaves behind some light lacing. Beer is pitch black and allows no light to shine through

S- I can smell the coffee and some chocolate, but after that all I get is bourbon and wood

T- Get a bit of the honey in the taste... at first swig. Then a light coffee and chocolate flavor before being overtaken by bourbon

M- Has a nice chewy full body with light/medium carbonation

D- Not my favorite offering from Mikkeller, but decent. If you like bourbon it'll def be more appealing since it's very evident in the taste


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Photo of beerdrifter
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at an awesome beer store outside Ghent, Dranken Geers. Popped the cork on this and it seemed a little flat, but got a decent head. Pitch black pour with a one finger head that fades pretty quickly and nice lacing. Very earthy nose totally dominated by the bourbon. There's also some chocolate and coffee with hints of vanilla and alcohol. Like the smell, the taste is dominated by the bourbon. I'm also getting some oak, slighty burnt espresso, dark chocolate, and a hint of vanilla. No attempt whatsoever to disguise the alcohol. It's got a bitter burn from start to finish. With that said, it's definitely a sipper, but for a 13% beer, it's got decent drinkability. It's way better than some of the recent reviews might indicate. Not Mikkeller's best, but still a decent beer.

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Photo of bobhits
1.5/5  rDev -60.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours the deadest and flattest looking beer I've ever seen. Very watery. IT does however produce a decent 1 finger head when poured very aggressively.

A very sweet and somewhat bad nose. There's a lot of coffee, bourbon, and vanilla, but the malt just doesn't smell great.

Very interesting tasting stuff. Almost has a spicy note to it. Tastes like vanilla and cold coffee with bourbon and then an odd after taste. Oddly enough this is an improvement on the normal black hole.

This beer isn't something I want to drink. It is hot from the alcohol, the body and mouth are just terrible.

I wanted to give the black hole beers one more chance. Well sorry guys but another HUGE failure. Maybe I'm alone but simply avoid these beers like the plague.

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.2/5  rDev -68.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks to Nanoslug for bringing this.

I don't have anything constructive to say about this beer, other than "at least it's not the Black Hole Scotch Whiskey." This has a similar electrical fire / burning rubber smell, but instead of being peaty, it's obviously bourbon-dominated. It's quite hot, with a charred, slick mouthfeel that simultaneously reminds me of fires, burnt rubber, and oil spills.

Again, the equivalent of an $18 bomber for this is a complete ripoff for a beer that shouldn't even have been released in the first place.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 9/26/10 notes

A thin, off-white film sits on top of a black body. Still leaves some lacing in a Portsmouth tulip glass.

Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and a bit of alcohol heat on the nose. Roasted coffee beans and light honey mix with dark, roasty, malts. Good, but not really at the next level.

Vanilla, sweet dark malts and alcohol heat on the tongue. Some coffee on the edge of being burnt. Bourbon comes through, but almost takes a back seat. Not too bad, but its not BCBCS. Floral aspects of the honey come through though, which is nice.

Mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation. Pretty good, but the body is a bit thin.

Drinkability is a little bit above average for this type of beer. A fairly tasty barrel aged stout, but there are better. Still interested in trying some of the other variations, but probably don't want to pay the price.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 ounce corked and caged bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a 1/2 inch brown head. Not much head retention, but there is a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice and strong, it smells like roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, and honey. The flavors are mostly the same as the aroma, but the coffee and roasted malt flavors are stronger compared to the chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and honey. There's also some burnt/charred malt noticable. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and a bit slick with decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's an easy enough brew to drink. The 13.1% ABV is hidden well for the most part. I think this is a good overall brew, I'd probably buy another bottle if I came across this again, although it is pricey.

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Photo of abuliarose
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, revealing black body under commendable thick crema head, some lacing. Smells like a mocha malt milkshake with good roasted and vanilla character. A touch of the floral honey comes through as well with the bourbon and warms and spices up the nose. Very nice smells.

Tastes hot and roasty with a light sweetness over burnt bitterness that eventually fades away into a clean, almost watery finish. In the interest of full disclosure, I have found other Mikkeller stout types to be a little abrasive. This one, however, is much more smooth. The vanilla and woodiness come through nicely, though marred by a strong astringency from the roasted flavors. Mouthfeel is very dry, a little grainy, but also watery at the end. Medium to heavy-bodied. The alcohol is well-masked and it is quite sip-able.

Overall it's nice. I'm interested in what a few years would bring, but glad to have tried one.

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Photo of crossovert
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12.7 oz green, synthetic corked, caged, and green foiled bottle. Chilled for 5 minutes in the freezer.

It pours a dense black with a thick, foamy, sand colored head. It is huge and dense considering the abv. It also has a surprising amount of retention as it slowly recedes leaving some nice lacing.

The smell is a sweet mix of bourbon, coffee, and chocolate. There are hints of the oak and some vanilla smoothness. I want to think I smell honey, but I don't know, but there is a honey-like aroma as well.

The flavor is as expected very sweet. The oak comes through a ton, lots of tannin here. The bourbon is overpowering in the flavor at this point. It tastes pretty much like bourbon with a hint of coffee addition. There is a subtle hint of chocolate with a deep taste but it is subdued by the bourbon. The bourbon overtone mellows as you go, bringing more of the vanilla, but it is still huge.

If you like bourbon and oak you will love this one.

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3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: black and very sticky with a small head light colored head.

S: lots of bourbon vanilla and choc...and I mean alot. this beer has a big nose.

T: eehh...doing the side by side here with the regular and the rum and I am still a little sad.
The bourbon in the nose is great, and I taste alot of it, BUT all the great coffee, honey, choc that comes with the regular is so faded! This is better than the rum but still not as complexe as I would like. I get bourbon up front with vanilla choc and coffee beans, but it just doesnt match up to the regular. :(

M: STILL mouthfeel is thicker on the regular than in the bourbon BA. Not happy about that at all. Was hoping for a step up instead of a step down.

D: again...its pretty drinkable but I really like prefer the regular.

Thoughts: Sorry Mikki...you guys need to go to go barrel aging school :(

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Photo of fastsrt
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7 ounce bottle in snifter

A: Black, no head,

S: Wood, burbon, coffee, sweetness

T: coffee, bourbon, alcohol, Belgian influence,

M: rich body, nice amount of carbonation, full body

D: drinks well, rough around the edges, not to smooth yet, this one will probably age well, one bottle is all i can afford, it is good but not worth the price tag.

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Photo of jampics2
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared with friends at an afternoon Saturday tasting! Sampled alongside the wine and rum versions. This was the best cohesive beer in the bunch, but, although I love bourbon, this was just a hair short of the amazing wine barrel version.

This beer looks great in the snifter. Black and thick with acceptable head retention. Nothing out of this world, but good nonetheless.

This beer smells really nice. There's a great bourbon and roasted coffee/chocolate component. But again, there are much more expressive bourbon barrel aged stouts out there. This is good but not great....until...

When I take my first sip, I'm blown away. Mikel is doing such a service to beer peeps through his series like this - you have the yeast series for beginners, the single hops for intermediates, and the barrel aged black hole series for us professionals. The beauty of this series and this beer is how the bourbon barrel pulls out the vanilla and honey elements. The roast is kicking butt, as it does with all the versions, but this has just a nice cohesive, smooth taste.

The mouthfeel is a touch thin as with all the versions. But this one is creamy and finishes with some great lingering vanilla and bourbon notes. So, this was easy to drink and enjoyable. Really good, just short of the amazing balance and complexity of the wine barrel. If you buy one of these, get the wine. If you buy two, the bourbon is awesome and a really rewarding beer.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7 oz bottle, neon green cage wrapping. Synthetic cork under the cage.

A: More dark brown than black really. Head is a light brown with not too much retention. As it settles it begins to take on a blacker color. Can clearly tell this one is a monster.

S: Glad I let this one sit for a bit. The bourbon aroma is right on point. A bit boozy but not too hot. Big chocolate and coffee, similar aroma to BBCS. Sweetness in the form of vanilla and caramel. Some molasses. Impressive balance with the bourbon aging.

T: Over 13% abv? Not picking up any heat from the alcohol here. What comes forward first is deep roasted chocolate malts and fresh ground coffee. Bourbon lends a lick of heat next. Very well rounded flavor with a definite impact from the bourbon barrels mixed with a solid RIS. Great roast and great cherry sweetness.

M: Feels like a giant RIS, plain and simple. Has a similar mouthfeel with a bourbon, which is very nice.

D: Drinking far too easy for 13%. A few months did this beer well, drinking very easy for such a large beer. Still is obviously a huge beer so it's taking a good amount of time to get through this one. Very well balanced flavor profile. One of the better Bourbon Barrel aged I've come across.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter.

Pours black as night, what else is new? Tan head, does not last, leaves a little lace behind.

Aromas of roast, vanilla, oak, and coffee. Compared to the scotch whiskey barrel aged, this is much more 3-deminsional.

First sip is of coffee first (interesting), vanilla, oak, and roast. Tastes like stout float with vanilla ice cream, delicious.

Mouthfeel is thick, bust roasted, mildly sweet, again, like a stout float would feel.

Drinkability is awesome. this is so much more complex and enjoyable than the scotch barrel aged. This is desert in a bottle.

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Photo of nickd717
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

375ml bottle thanks to chswimmer. Thanks, Ted!

Pours black in color with a small tan head that fades to swirls of tan foam on the beer.

Aroma has chocolate, espresso, bourbon, and some higher alcohol presence.

Flavor is maybe a little better than the wine version. Tastes like a typical good Mikkeller impy stout with a big bourbon presence and a little -bal. Some bittersweet chocolate notes in there too.

Smooth on the palate with low carbonation and medium-full body.

Decent overall, better than all the other versions except Wine. Disappointing for a -bal aged imperial stout from Mikkeller though.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7oz cork & caged bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a deep black with a nice sized tan head that fades to a ring leaving lots of nice lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is superb. Lots of vanilla, dark cocoa, coffee, and a bitter roastiness in the back ground. Really reminds me of roastier BCBCS.

T: The taste is mostly burnt coffee with some vanilla, cocoa, and backstrap molasses on the finish. The barrel flavors are somewhat subdued and not as strong as I would have thought after smelling it.

M: The feel is creamy and medium-full bodied. The finish lasts for a long time due to the oily feel.

D: This is not what I would call drinkable given the burnt flavors and the ABV but it's still pretty damn good. I'd love to try this again after a year of age.

Thanks to Corey for the trade!

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Photo of largadeer
1.96/5  rDev -48%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Quartet shared by chswimmer. Thanks.

Opaque chocolate brown, it has a solid mocha colored head with decent retention. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel and burnt bread consume the senses. Alcohol is sharp and stinging, incredibly harsh compared to other imperial stouts of similar strength. Dark fruit, burnt malt, bourbon and vanilla flavors open this one up. It's plenty complex, but cloying and harsh. Medium-full in body with a burnt, tarry, ashy finish, this is slightly better than the two before it, but it's far from good.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.07/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A: The cork comes out with out a pop and the beer is black, somewhat thick, and flat.

S: Jeesh, I don't think there is enough alcohol in this. Black Hole is already boozy as it is and the bourbon barrel seems to have just added to it unnecessarily. Bourbon, booze, vanilla, chocolate, booze, and raisins.

T: The amount of alcohol flavor in this beer is staggering. My tongue was immediately hot as I took a sip of this one. The bourbon and alcohol from the base beer just attack you, and the other flavors are not very good either: soy sauce, chemical solvent, and only a hint of chocolate.

M: The body is medium with no carbonation and searing heat.

D: Avoid this one. It's rather sad to say, this was actually better than the Scotch version.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a jet black with good carbonationa nd a nice dirty white head

S: Bourbon, lots of dried dark fruits and booze

T: Wow. Lots going on here. Roasted malt and chocolate. Figs, raisin, bourbon, smoke, wood and tobacco.

M: Booze sting, vanilla, wood, tobacco, warm

D: Wow, A bruiser!

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Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a (synthetic) corked and caged 12.7oz bottle into a Mikkeller tulip.

A: Pours a fantastic black with dark coffee brown highlights. Sitting on top is a dark mocha colored layer of creamy foam that slowly melts down to an unbreakable collar. Lace curtains all the way!

S: I was surprised at how pronounced the coffee was in the aroma. I was expecting more of a syrupy sweet bourbon smell, but the coffee really helped tame that. Just like all the other ones in this series, the complexities come out as it warms. I picked out espresso and boutbon, heavily roasted malt, dark fruit, dark chocolate, brown sugar, fudge and a bit of tart cherry.

T: Exactly as above with the sole difference being a creeping alcohol flavor that adds rather than detracts, by bringing just a pinch of solvent booze.

M: Of the series I felt this was the fullest of the bunch. Sticky and creamy with some sweet bourbon and chocolate, prickly hops and alcohol, with bitter espresso and dry roasty malt.

D: Yikes! This went down too easy. Only at the last couple of sips did the booziness really blow up. Fantastic, my favorite of the series.

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Photo of Gmann
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours as black as a beer can get black with crazy thick, dense brown head that slowly disipates leaving tons of lacing on the glass. The aroma is of a straight roasted malt, some light vanilla, honey and caramel. Not very strong on the bourbon for a bourbon barrel aged brew; nice vanilla though. There is some alcohol vapors seeping through, though not as strong as the others in the series. The taste is of a big roasted malt, coffee grounds, and some sour from the oak. What I thought would be the strongest barrel aged flavor in the series seems to be the weakest. The bourbon seems to add some vanilla and a touch of the whiskey but not as much as I expected. The oak also adds a tart fruity aspect which cuts the roasted malt very well. The flavors seem more balanced in this brew but not much "wow" factor, still good though. Well bodied with soft carbonation, good range of flavor between roasted bitterness, fruity tartness and some sweet malt. It is a tad boozy but not as bad as the others; seems more intergrated. A solid roasted malt coffee stout with hints of bourbon and whiskey. Seems to be made for the intent of balance, probably still could use some aging.

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Black Hole (Bourbon Edition) from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 182 ratings
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